Getting Ready for the Long Beach Grand Prix

A kickoff event was held on Tuesday for the race which starts April 19.

By Hetty Chang and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013  |  Updated 9:42 PM PDT
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Rain and cold weather weren't enough to dampen the excitement in Long Beach where the official countdown to the Grand Prix is under way. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2013.

Hetty Chang

Rain and cold weather weren't enough to dampen the excitement in Long Beach where the official countdown to the Grand Prix is under way. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2013.

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Rain and cold weather weren't enough to dampen the excitement in Long Beach where the official countdown to the Grand Prix is under way.

Signs are already up and construction has started on the two-mile race circuit. The Long Beach streets are beginning to take form to host one of Southern California's largest events.

"About 175,000 people come to Long Beach, and what they do is they just have a lot of fun," said Mayor Bob Foster. "They see a great race."

Sixty days before the engines start revving, race officials start building the circuit, said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

"It's a chance for everybody, families, young people, people who have followed the series for a long time to come and enjoy themselves," Michaelian said.

And that translates to big business for nearby Shoreline Village.

"This is our first Grand Prix. We're really excited," said bartender Denise Pinkham with Shenanigans Pub. "They just say expect the chaos. Expect to come in when we open and stay 'til closing, because it's non-stop all day long."

Race officials estimate the three-day event – which runs April 19 -21 – will bring as much as $35 million to the area.

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